This weekend 5000 women will join the inRL conference with Dayspring and (in)courage. Today, people will cozy up around their computers sipping coffee, watching real women from the blogosphere talk and share about the challenge to stay in community when it’s easier to walk away.
I am actually one of those women who will be sharing her story in the webcast today. When I was asked to do it, I thought, “I’ve never really had this problem. The challenge to stay? My problem has always been staying too long!” But I sat down and told a story of staying close to God’s Word when others thought it was silly.
Then I was asked a few other questions about the Lord and who-knows-what-else (honestly, I was so nervous, I don’t remember what they said!) and one of my answers was about my Sisterchicks. These are the five girls I’ve been friends with since—well, since forever.
I met Staci and Mandi and Mandy when I was just four years old at our little church with extended session and The Bible Tells Me So Show.
We met Kristen in 3rd grade when we went to Camp Cherith for the first time and got sashes from Pioneer Clubs.
Becky came in 6th grade. I remember her blue eyeshadow and enviable permed hair.
The next few years we experienced everything together: proms, homecomings, Christmas plays, missions trips, retreats, summer camps, first dates, trips to the mall, spend-the-night-parties, puppetry festivals and a million church services and youth group activities. Honestly, when I think of the amount of things we have done together, it’s staggering! (<–seriously, the amount of inside jokes and awesomeness that list contains!)
We weren’t always a tight 6–we had lots of friends around us–guys and girls, older and younger. We experienced that season of life together and our desires and interests just meshed.
Soon, we graduated and went to college. We all went our separate paths–local private colleges, big church schools, state universities and schools with family history. We all got more friends, some of us got married, one of us even had a baby.
But even still, there was no one I loved more than those girls. And one year, we decided, “Hey, let’s have a Christmas party. Just us.” We ate pizza and wore paper crowns. And reminisced about our crazy bonded life. For the past (how many years, Staci? 12 years?) our Christmas parties have been central to our little sisterchick nest.
Even though we weren’t experiencing that life together much anymore, we were still bonded for life. As I’ve been an adult, my Sisterchicks have let me talk and talk and talk. They drove to Birmingham from Atlanta to have a surprise Christmas party for me, the 39 week pregnant first time mama. When my dad had cancer, they came and did an Extreme Home Makeover on my parents’ room so Daddy would have a nice place to rest and recover. During this same time, when my parents had their house refurbished (why did they do that? I can’t remember…), they came and wrote Scriptures of life and healing on the walls and floors. They’ve helped me unpack boxes in my new house. They’ve come to every one of the kids’ birthday parties.
My friend Mary asked, “How do you guys stay together? Why?” And I said, “I don’t know. Maybe it’s me. I need them and maybe I make them stay around me.” Heh. In fact, it’s just a unique gift from God. Other people recognize that gift, too–old youth group leaders I run across who are impressed we’re still friends, our parents’ friends, and even our parents (who also would drop everything to help me or my family).
We got the “sisterchicks” title from a book called, “Sisterchicks Do the Hula” by Robin Jones Gunn. In it, two sisters (and best friends) got to Hawaii and learn about the history of “aloha”. The old Hawaiians upon greeting one another would go forehead to forehead and breathe on each other. Essentially giving their life breath to one another.
I love this word-picture–how many people are you willing to go forehead to forehead with and breathe on them? Not many.
And even with those you are–you don’t do it all the time. There are times when going forehead to forehead with even your closest friends is hard and uncomfortable–even undesirable.
Yet, even if you don’t go forehead to forehead with them, it’s a strength and rock to know they are there. To know that when you call, they will jump. My sisterchicks would even say, “How high?”
The gift of my sisterchicks is not in daily texts or pouring out of hearts in weekly coffee. The gift of my sisterchicks is in having someone who can look in your face and know you, know you as a dumb middle schooler and a wide-eyed college student, as a newlywed and a struggling adult. The gift of my sisterchicks is knowing that as my kids graduate from High School and my parents get old, they will be there.
It doesn’t matter where we’ve been, what other friends, lives and directions we’ve collected, we have a life-long bond that allows us to stay and know each other.
The gift of my sisterchicks is Aloha. Forehead to forehead. Breath upon breath. Life to life. Friend to friend. Sister to sister.
My challenge for you, dear reader is not to go dig up your Middle School BFF but to rediscover the people in your life who are willing to go forehead to forehead with you. Don’t let them out of your life, your sight or your heart. Open yourself to an Aloha relationship.
And to my sweet sisterchicks, you know there are never enough words or pictures to express my dear and deep love for you. Aloha. And Aloha again. (ps: count yourself lucky that I didn’t have a scanner to share any old pictures and could only use pictures from Facebook!)